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Ceres High boys water polo program hopes to rebound this fall
Dawgs missed securing a playoff berth in 2016
Ethan Letras (pictured right) and Sebastian Alvarado have been named co-captains for Ceres Highs varsity boys water polo team. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's varsity boys water polo program just missed securing a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last fall.

The Bulldogs placed third in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

"Our goal is to win the conference title," Ceres High second-year head coach Bill Campbell said while talking about the Bulldogs' expectations for the 2017 season. "If we don't do that, we better finish in the top two so we can make playoffs. I believe we have the guys to get it done."

The Bulldogs return a host of talent from a season ago, including Ethan Letras (Sr.), Sebastian Alvarado (Sr.), Caleb Cannella (Jr.), David Johnson (Sr.), Elliott Lewis (Jr.) and Jacob Black (Sr.).

"We have some of the best players in the league," Campbell said. "We got some good returners. We have more speed. That will allow us to spread the pool. The team chemistry is really good. The kids all get along well."

Ethan and Sebastian are co-captains.

"They've become leaders on the team," Campbell said. "They lead in different ways."

Letras and Cannella both earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors in 2016.

Ethan scored a team-high 25 goals on 59 shot attemps as a junior.

Caleb totaled 100 saves while starring at goalkeeper as a sophomore.

"When our starter got hurt last season, he (Canella) stepped in and never looked back," Campbell said. "He has a strong arm because he plays baseball. He can block shots. He's not afraid of anything. That's key. He'll be one of the best goalies in the league this year."

Ceres High's top newcomers are Brian Ayala (Fr.), Ryan Baranski (Fr.) and Daniel McElwain (Sr.).

Los Banos (4-5) edged out Ceres High (4-5) for the WAC's second and final postseason berth last year.

The Bulldogs lost the tiebreaker because of their 1-2 head-to-head record versus the Tigers.

Livngston captured the conference crown with an unblemished 9-0 mark.

Pacheco (1-8) finished in last place.

Ceres High had its playoff hopes dashed by Livingston on the final day of the 2016 regular season. The Wolves prevailed, 14-6.

"Our expectation is to win league," Campbell said. "Los Banos is going to be the team to beat. Hopefully, we can gel together and play really well."

Ceres High claimed WAC and Modesto Metro Conference titles in 2012 and 2004, respectively.